San Antonio Hub

Texas GOP Candidate Says God Didn't Intend For People To Be Gay As Supporters Attack Rival Over Bathhouse


Last week, we told you how the Republican Party in San Antonio had rejected a hateful anti-LGBT resolution. 

But apparently the spirit of the resolution lives on in the heart and platform of at least one GOP candidate in the Alamo City. 

Nunzio Previtera (above), who advanced to a runoff for the Texas House District 123 seat in a special election earlier this month, recently told the city's daily newspaper that he doesn't believe God intended people to be gay. 

San Antonio Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff reports:  

“Marriage is a biblical concept,” the candidate told me. “Marriage was first talked about in the Bible. And the Bible very specifically said that marriage is between a man and woman. ... My study of the Bible gives me very specific views about homosexuality. I don’t believe that God intended that to be the way people act.”

At the same time, Previtera said, “Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only person who can judge.”

BernalPrevitera is in a runoff against former San Antonio City Councilman Diego Bernal (right), a Democrat who authored the city's LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance passed in 2013.

Anti-LGBT groups fought bitterly against the ordinance, and after it passed they threatened to recall Bernal. Not surprisingly, Previtera is attacking Bernal over the ordinance, and in doing so he is channeling then-Councilwoman Elisa Chan, who called gays and lesbians "disgusting." 

From The Express-News' Chasnoff: 

“What percentage of the population of this town does it affect?” he asked. “It’s not that important of an issue to the people of this district or even the people of Bexar County. ... (The LGBT community is) very much a minority.”

Previtera applies the same dismissive logic to the rest of his criticism of Bernal on the topic.

“The federal and state laws in America and Texas already provide punishment remedies when citizens abuse other citizens,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Allowing local governments to single out ANY class of citizens for preferential treatment is Discrimination by any definition of the word.”

Previtera is endorsed by right-wing groups including the Christian Coalition of America and the Leadership Institute for Public Policy. Among its reasons for endorsing Previtera, the Leadership Institute cites Bernal's refusal to stop Terrence McNally's gay-themed Christian play, "Corpus Christi," from showing in the city, as well the former councilman's support for domestic partner benefits and his alleged failure to shut down a gay bathhouse in his district. 

From the Leadership Institute

In the summer of 2011, the obscene and blasphemous play, Corpus Christi, was showcased in the city-owned San Pedro playhouse located in District 1, an enterprise subsidized by the city. The play portrayed our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His apostles throughout the performance in lewd and prurient ways as active homosexuals. Christian organizations repeatedly presented their complaints before the City Council during the summer of 2011 requesting that the blasphemous play be canceled. Bernal, the Mayor, and the majority of his fellow councilmen refused to take any action. ... 

Bernal refused to respond to questions and concerns from citizens regarding the gay bath house in his district (ACI) on Elmira Street which city health inspectors avoided in spite of the city’s Metropolitan Health District office’s findings that HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise in San Antonio primarily in the reckless sexual behavior of the MSM (men having sex with men) population.

Fortunately, Bernal is heavily favored to win the House seat in the solidly Democratic district. And once he joins the Legislature, he'll be uniquely qualified to defend local nondiscrimination ordinances against attacks by Republican lawmakers, who want to ban them and enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constitution.

As for Previtera, he'll go back to his insurance business, Integrity Insurance Agency, but we suspect he may lose a few clients. 

San Antonio GOP Rejects Resolution Calling For Repeal Of 'Pro-Homosexual Policies'


Last month, we reported that a Republican Party committee in San Antonio had submitted a resolution to the county GOP calling for "the repeal of our local governments’ pro-homosexual policies." 

The resolution, authored by anti-gay activist Jack Finger (above), demanded that GOP elected officials roll back the city's LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, as well as domestic partner benefits for city and county employees. Otherwise, the proposal threatened, voters would "'throw the rascals out' and elect officials who will carry out the resolution." 

On Jan. 8, the Bexar County GOP Executive Committee rejected the resolution, according to San Antonio gay Republican Justin Nichols. OutInSA reports:  

“The resolution in question was the last agenda item,” says Nichols. “After Mr. Finger’s fear mongering presentation, the floor was opened for discussion. Not a single precinct chair spoke in favor of the resolution, with at least four other people speaking against it on various grounds. I spoke last, and the question was called. I don’t recall the exact vote, but it was approximately 54-21, a margin of nearly 2 to 1, rejecting the resolution, which was then declared to have failed.”

Nichols says he told the assembly that the resolution did not reflect the “true priorities of the party” but reflected “one man’s peculiar obsession with the topic of sexuality.”

Nichols added that Finger was alone in spreading his anti-LGBT message. “Beside Jack’s befuddled scrambling to hand out his classic bush-league leaflets, and his own absurd explanation of the NDO, not a single person at the meeting spoke a word of disdain or disrespect for any LGBT person or group.  I was really very pleased at the speed with which the party ended Jack’s charade and got on to real business.”

Although it's commendable that the precinct chairs rejected the resolution, it's still disturbing that one-third of them voted in favor of it. Sadly, it's this one-third that is most active in party primaries and maintains a virtual stranglehold on the Texas GOP. Which explains why Republican state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban local LGBT protections and punish county clerks for issuing same-sex marriage licenses. 

But hey, baby steps, right? 

San Antonio GOP Resolution Demands Repeal Of 'Pro-Homosexual Policies'

BexarGOPLogoHPEmboldened by November election results, a Republican Party committee in San Antonio has submitted a resolution to the county GOP calling for "the repeal of our local governments’ pro-homosexual policies." 

The resolution, first reported by Out In SA, calls for the repeal of San Antonio's nondiscriination ordinance passed last year, as well as policies extending benefits to the same-sex partners of city and county employees.

The measure's passage followed months of public debate, public prayer against it, and headlines over City Councilwoman Elisa Chan's remarks on the bill, in which she called LGBT people "disgusting".

The resolution begins by referencing several anti-gay planks from the Texas GOP platform, including one which states that "homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit." 

The resolution then erroneously states that "homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered persons already have constitutionally protected civil rights," before grossly mischaracterizing provisions of the San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance. 

Finally, the resolution threatens that if Republicans in San Antonio, the nation's seventh-largest city, don't repeal the measures, the party will urge voters to "'throw the rascals out' and elect officials who will carry out the resoution." 

From Out In SA:  

FingerIt should come as no surprise that the chairman of the committee that drafted the resolution is Jack M. Finger, perennial City Council gadfly and self-proclaimed homophobe.

Finger was one of 14 applicants who sought to fill the unfinished term of former City Councilman Diego Bernal. During his interview before the City Council, Finger said he “had friends in the homosexual community.”

The resolution, signed by 10 members of Finger's group, will be submitted to the county Republican Party's executive committee on Jan. 8. 

Read the resolution and watch a 2011 video of Finger speaking out against domestic partner benefits and the, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "San Antonio GOP Resolution Demands Repeal Of 'Pro-Homosexual Policies'" »

Employees At San Antonio Gay Bar Brutally Attacked In Apparent Hate Crime: VIDEO


Two employees at a popular San Antonio gay bar were brutally attacked in an apparent hate crime as they left work early Wednesday. 

SaintDaniel Ramos, an employee at the Saint Nightclub, said two men pulled up in a black Silverado and asked for jumper cables. When Ramos' co-worker turned his back to look for the jumper cables, the men attacked him. From Fox 29

"Random guys asking for our help, we were willing to help them, but then all of a sudden, it was an attack,” Ramos said.

He said the guys started punching his friend.

"I heard the commotion and went around to try to help, got hit in the face by the second guy,” Ramos explained. “Fortunately, I only got hit once. Nothing as extreme as my friend."

The friend did not want to be identified, but he told us the attackers yelled gay slurs while they pounded on them. Ramos believes his sexual orientation is the reason behind the beating.

Ramos suffered a gash below his left eye, and his co-worker reportedly was admitted to a trauma unit. 

The attack was caught on surveillance video, but the suspects are still at large and San Antonio police haven't indicated whether they're treating the incident as an anti-gay hate crime: 

"I come to work thinking that it's a gay establishment, I'm a gay individual, my boss is gay, I'm supposed to feel safe,” Ramos said. ... 

"I've never, never been assaulted this way,” he said. “Stuff like this really needs to stop. It really does."

Watch Fox 29's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Employees At San Antonio Gay Bar Brutally Attacked In Apparent Hate Crime: VIDEO" »

Gay-Friendly Corporations Refuse To Come Out Against 'License To Discriminate' Bills In Texas


Eight companies with perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index have contributed money to the campaign of Texas Republican Sen. Donna Campbell (above right), the author of legislation that seeks to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constituion. 

But none of these otherwise gay-friendly companies have come out in opposition to SJR 10, which Campbell filed early last month.

The Texas Observer reports: 

“SJR 10 is one of thousands of bills filed, we will weigh in and comment on bills when and if they are scheduled for hearing,” said Mona Taylor, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based AT&T Inc., which contributed $5,000 to Campbell’s campaign through its PAC this year.

Other companies with perfect HRC scores that have contributed to Campbell’s campaign in the last year include General Motors Co. ($2,500), Citigroup Inc. ($1,500), UnitedHealth Group Inc. ($,1000), the Raytheon Co. ($1,000), Merck & Co. ($1,000), Genentech Inc. ($750) and Astellas Pharma Inc. ($500).

On Monday, Plano added itself to the list of cities in Texas that have passed ordinances banning anti-LGBT discrimination. Two days later, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas (above left), filed a House version of Campbell's "license to discriminate" bill — and another lawmaker is threatening to introduce a similar measure, The Observer reports. 
Experts say the legislation would severely limit cities' ability to enforce nondiscrimination ordinances, since any business owner could claim an exemption if they have "a sincerely held religious belief." But the unintended consequences of the constitutional amendment could be far worse, according to Equality Texas' Daniel Williams.
Texas already has a statute, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that provides strong protections for religious freedom. But the proposed amendments would supplant the RFRA and go much further, overriding the statute's exceptions for things like zoning regulations and civil rights laws, according to The Observer

“A church or a synagogue or a mosque could conceivably be built anywhere with no concern to traffic flow or how much parking is available or building codes,” Williams said. “There are butchers that butcher in accordance with very specific religious laws, and they’re able to do that, but the city and the state enforce environmental protections that ensure we don’t wind up with giant ponds of blood in residential neighborhoods. If you take away the ability of cities to enforce those, it’s going to have an enormous negative impact on the quality of life for everyone in that area.”

Williams said Campbell has introduced similar measures in three previous legislative sessions. Given the senator's penchant for seeking to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constitution, the companies' campaign contributions could reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement of the legislation — at least until they publicly state otherwise. 

Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO


Three lesbians who were among four wrongfully convicted of molestation in 1998 were released today after spending nearly 15 years in prison, the HuffPost reports:

In 1994, Elizabeth Ramirez, then 20, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly molesting her two young nieces, aged 7 and 9.

In two bizarre trials, she and three other women, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez, all lesbians, were accused of repeatedly assaulting the girls during a nightmarish week-long orgy in 1994. A medical expert and the prosecutor hinted that the women had been performing a Satanic ritual, and pointed to what they claimed was scientific evidence of their guilt. A judge sent the women to prison -- 35 years for Ramirez, 15 for each of the others.

For more than a decade, the women sought the attention of advocates for prisoners and of the press, insisting that they had been falsely accused, but their calls for help went unanswered. And then, in 2006, a Canadian college instructor named Darrell Otto began researching the case. Otto became convinced that the women were innocent and reached out to the National Center for Reason and Justice, a New York-based organization that pushes for the release of those believed to be wrongly accused of crimes against children. He set in motion an effort to free the women that has finally culminated in victory.

KENS5 adds:

The women have claimed their innocence since the conviction and have worked to clear their names.  They were convicted based upon expert medical testimony that prosecutors and the women's attorney now agree wouldn't stand in court today. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera have sat in prison for almost 15 years.

Anna Vasquez, one of "The San Antonio 4" who spent 13 years in jail and was paroled in 2012 sat down with KENS 5 for an interview.

"We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt," said Vasquez, 37.  I could not believe that this has happened." The four were only teens when they went to jail.  

"It's a huge injustice to us we had many years taken away from us," said Vasquez.  "I was angry I would say I was in shock, disbelief," she said.

Watch a video of their release, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO" »


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